Supreme Court: Even good faith can lead to discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

In one of its most anticipated employment law decisions in years, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that New Haven, Conn., discriminated against white firefighters when it refused to promote them after they passed a test that most black co-workers failed.

The upshot of the court’s 5-4 decision in Ricci v. DeStefano: Even good-faith employment decisions can be discriminatory if they harm one class of employees more than another, regardless of their race.

The court said New Haven shouldn’t have thrown out the test results just because it feared the test had a disparate impact on black firefighters.

Widely seen as a landmark victory for employees, the decision also clearly spells out what employers should do when a properly administered employment test might benefit one group at the expense of another.

“As long as the employer can show that the test is job-related and consistent with business necessity,” said employment law attorney Josh Davis, “it should accept the results of the test.”

Read more at www.theHRSpecialist.com/Ricci. 

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